Another take on why Hillary won

Really good piece from John Cassidy:

But we won’t get a reliable reading of public opinion until we see some scientifically conducted surveys based on random samples of Democratic voters. The post-debate online polls weren’t of this type: their samples were self-selecting, and you would expect their results to be skewed toward the candidate with the most-committed supporters. In this race, without a doubt, that is Sanders.

The only post-debate poll I’ve seen that employed orthodox surveying techniques was carried out by the research firm Gravis Marketing, and it showed Clinton as the clear victor…

The main reason that I think Clinton emerged as the winner relates to the third question: she gave her campaign a huge and much-needed boost. Of all the debate participants, she had the most to lose. After six months in which Clinton struggled to deal with the issue of her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state, Democratic élites and donors were starting to question her abilities as a candidate. A poor performance on Tuesday could well have engendered outright panic. Clinton not only reassured the elected politicians, interest groups, and donors who have thrown in with her; she dealt a big blow to the “draft Biden” movement, which probably, in hindsight, needed its man to be onstage in Las Vegas.

The Clinton campaign believes that it can ultimately deal with a buoyant Sanders, even one who raises more money after the debate or gains a few more points in the polls. A panicking Democratic establishment and a swift entry into the race by Joe Biden would have presented a much more alarming scenario—one that now appears to be receding as a possibility.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  What matters about debates is not about what people sitting at home think about who won or who lost.  What matters is the media narrative that shapes up afterward and in this sense, there can be no doubt, Clinton is an overwhelming winner.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

7 Responses to Another take on why Hillary won

  1. John F. says:

    I thought debates didn’t matter or at least this one doesn’t because Clinton didn’t mess up?

    My take is Sanders is the winner on any stage that gives him national exposure. He’s polling extraordinarily strongly in the first 2 primary states and it’s because the more people hear from him the more they resonate with his message.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Debates matter because they shape media coverage. Insofar as what happens on the debate stage is somewhat correlated with that, debates matter. If Sanders goal is actually to be president, it’s pretty hard to argue he’s better off today than a week ago. Hillary’s gain is his loss.

  2. Mika says:

    I don’t know which candidate I support or to put it a better way, which candidate I’d like to see as a POTUS. I mean, a socialist president in the US would be like “Ok, now I’ve seen everything.” But then again I really would like see what kind of policies Hillary would champion in her second term. I suspect there is a radicalliberal hidden somewhere there beneath the realpoliticians cover.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Also, Bernie is just really liberal. He’s no socialist.

      • R. Jenrette says:

        Both favor some degree of “socialism” in our system. And so does just about anyone else; they just don’t know it. Hillary did very well to emphasize the small business opportunities….ordinary citizens can see themselves as opening a small business much more easily than they can see themselves as a CEO of a major corporation.
        Establishment Republicans don’t see subsidies to oil companies as socialism.
        Of course, the Donald immediately responded “socialism/communism” what’s the difference?

      • Mika says:

        He isn’t? Well, that’s settled, then: Go Hillary Go! Or maybe indeed it’s a matter of degrees and the answer depends on how one defines socialism?

      • Steve Greene says:

        Yeah, that. Though I don’t think too many political theorists would define Bernie as a socialist.

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